Excerpts and Information taken from Barbara Ann Lambert's book; " In Paradise: West Coast Short Stories 1890-1960" published in 1998.
The first owners of the Rodmay Hotel, which was first known as the Powell River Hotel, were Andrew and Barbara McKinney. The McKinneys were distantly related to the Brooks family, which had invited them to build a hotel close to the mill site. The Powell River Hotel was thus one of the first buildings to go up in the Townsite Historic District.
Andrew McKinney brought his family up to Powell River to help run the hotel. His family consisted of his wife, Barbara, and their three children, George, Carl and Catherine. George and Carl were already married with families, while Catherine was in her teens. The two sons lived with their wives and children behind the hotel .
"McKinney ran the Rodmay Hotel which had a bar before prohibition and saw a lot of rip-roaring sessions." (Powell River's First 50 Years, PR News).
Gertie Lambert (1893-1982) remembered the tales of the opening night of the hotel when drinks were "on the house" and the construction workers in hob nailed boots danced on the tops of the brand new billiard tables!
Barabra and Andrew McKinney were Gertie's aunt and uncle. Barbara's maiden name had been Rippel: Gertie's mother, Anna Tiber, was Barbara's sister. The two sister Anna and Barbara had grown up in Columbus, Ohio.
Their parents, Paul and Anna Rippel, were born in Germany in about 1840. They emigrated to the U.S. in 1855, soon after their marriage in Switzerland. They had six children: Anna, Joe, Barbara, Mary, Will and Jack, who were all born in the U.S.
"Anna and her sister Barbara were destined to lead exciting and interesting lives. They always kept in close contact and both came to British Columbia, at the turn of the century, to start new lives."
Anna was first to settle in B.C. travelling with her daughter Gertrude on the old "Cassier" to Manson's Landing in 1908. Anna gave birth to her last child, Veronica Tiber on Cortes Island. She had three marriages and eight children.
In 1911, Barbara McKinney arrived in Powell River and the sisters had family gatherings at the Hotel or the Tiber residence by Manson's Landing. When Catherine McKinney was married in 1911 at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, the reception was held at the hotel. It was the first wedding held at the new St. Joseph's hotel (after the flat roof church), which is now on the corner of Ash and Sycamore St.
A second family wedding occurred in 1913 in Vancouver when Gertrude Mundigel married Tom Lambert of Cortes Island. In 1916, Gertie and Tom with their two year old son Stuart, came to live a small house behind the Powell River Hotel. The site of the house is where the cenotaph is located today.
Living behind the hotel meant enduring noises and smells. Not withstanding the smell and squeals of the pigs, there was the noise of the mill machinery, the steady rhythm of hammering, as the new buildings went up during the day, and at night they could hear the singing and loud guffaws of laughter from the saloon. It is perhaps not surprising that they moved back to the peace and quiet of Cortes Island in 1917.
The McKinney family also decided to move the same year. Andrew McKinney sold the hotel to Mr. and Mrs. MacIntyre. Their son had the idea of renaming the hotel the "Rodmay" after his parents Rod and May McIntyre.